Indian Chai drink...how to make a really great tasting chai?
enjoy chai a lot, but probably just as many versions of chai as their are versions of apple pie.
anyone have a simple but great tasting chai to share?
are their other countries that also have a variation of chai drink? I immediately think of horchata drink, but I think that is made of milk.
There are hundreds of different Indian Chai recipes because it really does depend on what flavours you like. The simplest way of making chai is as follows;
1. Boil water in a saucepan...as water begins to boil throw in 1-2 teaspoons of whichever tea leaves you have. Add whatever spices you want to use; popular ones include ginger scrapings, cloves, green cardamom, cinnamon, fennel seeds. These can either be whole or pounded into a masala.
2. Boil the water & tea leaves to brew for 2-3 minutes and then add milk & sugar to taste.
3. Bring back to boil and take off heat as chai froths.
4. Strain into cup & enjoy.
5. Change recipe to taste...
I use Assam CTC normally...the rule is the smaller the tea leaf, the stronger the brew.
Hope you enjoy your chai and let me know if you need any more information.
I like to make it Bangladeshi style using sweetened condensed milk. I make it for guests this way at our dinner parties. (Although I have to make a separate round of tea for the couple of guests who don't take sugar.) The end result is sweet, strong masala tea, what is sometimes called karak chai, which means like a hard stiff shot of very sweet tea. It is the kind of tea you get at truck stops and road side stalls.
I use a very strong brand of black tea. After a lot of experimentation I have found that Barry's Gold Blend lends strength and Newman's Own Royal Tea gives fragrance. I boil water, 3/4 cup of water or so per cup of tea. (I am usually making this is large quantities, at least 5 cups at a time, but it is just as easy for 2 cups of tea.) At this time I also add in a little bit of crushed ginger (1 tsp) and a large pinch of un-husked ground green cardamom. When the water boils, I add in two tea bags per cup of tea, one Newman's and one Barry's. When the water boils, I add in the sweetened condensed milk, plus a little bit of regular milk (whole or 2%). The amount of condensed milk will depend on how sweet you want it. We like to serve it very sweet, so it maybe as much as 1/4 cup per cup of tea. I use the Vietnamese Longevity Brand (3 Old Man) just because I like the taste. Allow this to come to a boil again. Then strain and serve. The condensed milk gives such a great scalded milk flavor.
Toast your spices in the pot. I use a combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, black peppercorns, cardamom and star anise (the latter two being really key in my opinion). Boil your water with the spices and a generous amount of fresh ginger. Steep your tea (either Assam leaves or an Irish breakfast blend) for 3-5 minutes, remove the bags, add your milk and sugar and bring it back to the boil. Let it reduce a bit before straining and serving. You can also try reversing the recipe a bit and scalding the milk with the spices before adding the water and tea.
Technically if you're doing the nut horchata, it's supposed to be made from chufa nuts, but that's very hard to find in the US. Typically I see Mexican rice horchata.
In terms of other countries having masala chai-like drinks, there are plenty of countries that add spices to their beverages. Arabic coffee has cardamom. Thai iced coffee has cardamom, cinnamon and almond. I'm sure there are more examples.